Friday, March 25, 2011

Pitch it and They will Come!

Pitching to the media is an art form. When you're promoting a book or product or person, you pitch their stories to the media. Your aim -- to get as much media attention as possible. The more promotion out there, the more visibility, and the more sales generated. Pitching, though, cannot take the form of a monosyllabic: check out my press release ... or I have a new book on Vegas out ... or I have a new book for you. As a magazine editor in another life, I have seen it all, and I can tell you the worst failures and best successes. When publicists sent me lame product pitches that consisted of nothing more than a line or two in the pitch, I wasn't impressed. You have to get the editor to stop for a moment. Editors, producers or writers are busy. They have often daily deadlines. They have little time to stop and read what can often be hundreds of pitches per day; so make your pitch powerful. Give it a strong hook. Make it interesting. Ensure it's about a story behind something. Do not send an editor a one-liner that reads: "Sign me up!" or "I'm all in." Your pitch should contain the inverted pyramid in journalism (who, what, where, when, and why), and as part of that pyramid convey something provocative, unique or interesting. And one more thing, next time you hire a public relations professional, make sure he or she is really a "professional," meaning they have education, training or certification in PR not a hope and a smile -- and zero background in the profession, because it is an actual profession.

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